The Great Wall’s Invisible Hold

The Great Wall of China is not one continuous wall but a collection of walls that were built and rebuilt starting in the 5th century BC through the 16th century by various dynasties.  The “original”, most famous part of the wall was first built between 220-206 BC years ago by the Qin dynasty, yet little of that wall remains.  The majority of the existing wall was built during the Ming Dynasty (1368 to 1644) and that is what most tourists see today.

The wall was built to protect the Chinese Empire. Slaves, indentured servants and other poor souls from the lower peasant class were forced into constructing one of the largest, most impressive engineering projects in the world.  Thousands of people died and it is said that their remains were mixed in and used as building materials in the construction of the wall.  Each stone of the wall was carried by hand or on the backs of the workers over 2,000 years ago.

Although much of the physical wall has disappeared and crumbled over the centuries, the significance of the meaning of the Great Wall of China remains. Today, China’s most famous monument and architectural wonder’s symbolism prevails as China’s long-reaching might and strength tries to reign in its citizens and Hong Kong with their fight for more freedom.

I have been following the news closely as the people of Hong Kong stand up and fight for their rights. Will they be successful in achieving their simple demands for freedom? Or will the invisible Great Wall of China invade and squash all protests, putting a wall around the great Chinese empire by silencing them.


The Great Wall of China

The Great Wall of China

The Great Wall of China

The Great Wall of China

The Great Wall of China

The Great Wall of China

The Great Wall of China

The Great Wall of ChinaThis post was inspired by the Weekly Photo Challenge: Signs. To view more entries, click here. 



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    • Yes it was so insanely foggy and smoggy there that day. My pictures were a little disappointing yet I still like the eery feel of the fog and pollution. I never saw the sun when I was there.

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    • Me too. I read today however that the Chinese government is employing gangs to go spark problems and fights. I wonder how this will all end. The same with China keeping its status quo or a little bit of freedom for Hong Kong. It will be interesting to see.

  3. Magical images …. still standing, but how will they be able to fix it … it will take some time. Just wonderful images, my favorite second from the top.

    • Thanks! Yes parts of the wall have been significantly restored. I visited both the restored (touristy and popular part) and the unrestored part (which is where these photos were taken). I preferred the unrestored as there were not mobs of tourists and you could see and visualize how it really was. Amazing indeed that it has withstood time so well!

  4. You did a terrific job photographing it and explaining the shifts and changes in the air… I do hope the people of Hong Kong will remain free as they have enjoyed such basic rights for 100+ years. Also, I hope to walk the wall before they have to shut it down for massive repairs.

    • Thanks Eliz! I played around with the photos a bit and added some filters to give them the feeling I was trying to convey. I too hope that Hong Kong gets an inch or two of freedom. It is crazy that China still holds such a strong grip on its people.

  5. We just happened to be in Hong Kong as the protests started. We happened to be down in the area and my husband convinced me to go and take a look. Against my better judgement we went to see what was happening. It was an overwhelming experience and I was nervous, but quickly was welcomed into the group and tanked for my support. The people were happy to share their story. I wrote about it and you can read my post Last Night. I added a link in the comment section from a young girl who lives in HK and was one of the protestors. Her perspective was well written. It is amazing to see them come together and be so peaceful and helpful all the while hoping for change. We spent a lot of time talking to young people on the metro, in the streets and they all said the same thing… we are not comfortable with this, but it is important. As you say the invisible wall will not budge and can be very stubborn. Saving face is an important part of the culture here in China… and a huge frustration for us expats who live here. Sometimes we are given empty promises, wrong information just to avoid ‘no’ or to cover a mistake.
    The protestors still have hope and I hope they can make a difference.

    • Thanks so much for your comment! I am so fascinated to see how this all plays out. I sincerely hope that the protesters get what they are asking for and it isn’t just another protest that leads to no change. Keep us posted here on what the developments are.

      • I hope too things are taken seriously and really considered. After all things were to stay as they are now for 50 years (after that I am not clear), but this ‘subtle’ change was to take place in 2017. They finally were granted a chance to talk to leaders on Thursday or Friday, but after some people (not protestors) started to push and cause a disturbance the talks have been called off. Shame since the students and their supporters have worked so hard to remain peaceful. I’m back in Shanghai, so I have been watching the news closely and wondering what the outcome will be.

    • For me, I have a huge problem that I want to go pretty much EVERYWHERE as long as it is safe. I am curious about seeing as much of the world as possible. So how would I rank China? The pollution was insane however it is fascinating given its amazing history and culture. The sights are very interesting but sadly I strongly disliked the food. I would go back in a heartbeat but I want to see more rural stuff like Tiger Leaping Gorge (where they filmed Avator) and the Li River. I also want to go to Tibet. China is a huge, diverse place so there is a ton to offer. I think doing a big tour with a group though would be miserable. When I went, it was just me and my dad and we did Shanghai (loved), Beijing (history is good but stale) and the Great Wall. I would highly recommend China but it truly depends on what you like to do and see. 🙂

  6. Nicole the images you have shared made me feel as though I was right with you. I have seen many photos of the Great Wall but none so ‘real’ as these.

    • Thanks Sue! China is definitely a fascinating place. I really want to go back and see the countryside. That is my dream. But it is such a huge country!

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